Landlords are furious about HMO proposal

LANDLORDS furious about plans to change legislation relating to the creation of multiple occupancy homes (HMOs) in Northampton have handed in more than 60 protest letters to the Guildhall.

A consultation on whether Northampton Borough Council should bring in a non-immediate Article 4 direction within the wards of Castle, Abington, Trinity, Phippsville, Semilong, Kingsley, Kingsthorpe, St David’s, Sunnyside, Spring Park, Obelisk and Delapre and Briar Hill, ended on Monday.

The direction, which is set to come into force on March 14 next year, would mean landlords have to apply for planning permission to convert a single occupancy home into an HMO.

The council has already imposed an immediate Article 4 Direction within the wards of Sunnyside, St David’s and Obelisk, in Kingsthorpe, following pressure from residents in the area who petitioned for action following soaring numbers of HMOs in the region.

John Socha, chairman of the Northampton branch of the Landlord’s Association, which has 350 members in Northampton, said: “We have handed in a total of 62 objections, from letting agents to landlords.

“This article will be a huge disadvantage to anyone who wants to house-share due to the delays that will be caused by applying for planning permission and all the bureaucracy involved.

“Not everyone can afford to buy a house.

“They have no justification for doing this and it doesn’t seem to be evidence based at all.

“Multiple occupancy housing is the smallest section of the housing market at the moment.”

Mary Markham, of Whitfield Way, who spearheaded the Sunnyside residents campaign to bring in HMOs, said: “We are convinced the Article 4 will improve the problems we have faced.

“It is a problem all over Northampton, which needs to be dealt with.”

A spokesman for Northampton Borough Council said: “In response to concerns raised by local residents we have been consulting on the use of Article 4 Directions to protect the character and amenities of two areas of the town.

“This is something that local people asked us to do, and the consultation process allowed anyone to have their say in support or opposition to the plans.

“Now that the consultation has finished we will fully consider every response received.”